Do Weighted Blankets Work For Insomnia?
Most people use weighted blankets for better sleep. That’s how the founder of Mosaic Weighted Blankets got started. Laura LeMond of Austin, Texas discovered that she got a better sleep when she put weights on her feet at night. She then designed a blanket to spread out the load evenly when going to bed. The added weight put pressure on the body, creating calm and relaxation, similar to getting a massage or a gentle hug.
Weighted Blankets For Adults – What Are The Benefits?
Ever experience one of those days when even you’re so tired that you can’t sleep? No matter what you do, your brain seems to be on overdrive with random thoughts. If it’s just one, you’re lucky. Some people have to deal with consecutive days of sleep deprivation and there seems to be no reason for it.
Though sometimes, it can be anxiety, white noise, or an unexplainable amount of remaining energy. There are plenty of causes of insomnia or sleeplessness. No amount of milk and cookies, counting sheep, meditation, or reading boring books can put you to sleep. Tried everything? How about a weighted blanket?
What Is A Weighted Blanket?
While ordinary blankets provide warmth and comfort and even a sense of security for people during sleep, weighted blankets have their roots as a calming tool for kids with autism as well as for people with a mental health condition. If we go further, the science of weighted blankets originates from compression machines in farms to relax cattle during vaccinations. Cows feel more relaxed when gently squeezed, and apparently, so do people. So being weighed down a little by weighted blankets equates to getting a comforting hug. This is basically when your blanket hugs you back, easing that often unidentifiable feeling of anxiety or stress.
A weighted blanket is essentially a blanket that’s heavier than usual. It has compartments weighted with various types of objects such as plastic pellets or glass beads. Early blankets contained corn or rice that resulted in some sprouts and uneven weight distribution. As mentioned, weighted blankets not only aid people with insomnia but with other neurological conditions. Things that a comforting hug can alleviate (from a trusted person of course). But said person/s are not always around and not all hugs are welcome.
The effect of added weight results in an effect similar to DPT or deep pressure touch therapy. DPT involves putting slight pressure to various parts of the body. DPT can result in the production of more dopamine and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that aids in sleep and stress relief.
If you want a good night’s sleep or to help you go to sleep, drugs like sleeping pills are not the answer. Weighted blankets are the better solution for people of all ages, as per a published study by the Journal of Sleep and Medicine Disorders. The study actually emphasizes that the subjects had no negative experiences whatsoever.
How Much Weight Should the Weighted Blanket Be?
The blanket should at least add ten percent of the person’s body weight. A blanket for a 140-pound person should weigh around 14 to 16 pounds. For kids, the ten percent should be adhered to or as prescribed by a specialist. In grown-ups though, the weight can be relative. As relative as a person’s preference for the softness of their mattresses. The blanket can’t be too light or it’s just another blanket. Blankets that are too heavy can actually have the opposite effect.
The blankets should not also be too large. Just enough to cover the person and not the bed. Parts of the blanket on the sides of the bed adds more weight.
Do Weighted Blankets Work For Adults Trying To Get Better Sleep?
Just so we’re not pulling a blanket over your eyes, it’s best to explain further the science of weighted blankets and how they can help you get a good night’s sleep.
As mentioned, the body produces more serotonin when light pressure is applied to various parts of the body during deep-pressure touch therapy. Serotonin is the body is later converted into melatonin that makes people tired when it’s time for bed. The more serotonin produced results in higher amounts of melatonin later on.
Weighted Blankets For Insomnia = Serotonin
While you’re familiar with other bodily systems such as the digestive, circulatory, and endocrine systems. The nervous system meanwhile is further divided into what’s called the parasympathetic, sympathetic, and enteric systems. These systems regulate the other bodily systems when the body is at rest. The parasympathetic system stimulates the activities such as sexual arousal, urination, defecation, and salivation. The enteric governs the gastrointestinal tract while the sympathetic is responsible for our fight-or-flight response. One can imagine what happens should these peripheral nervous systems suffer an imbalance due to anxiety and stress.
The fight-or-flight response, for example, is activated by increases stress, an important interview the next day triggers the production of adrenaline. And we probably all know what that means, an increase in energy. There’s also the production of cortisol which triggers a nervous reaction or flight response which only adds to the person’s accompanying anxiety. Instead of resting, the mind is very much active worrying, and the body is itching to do something. As for the other two systems, the body could experience an urge to excrete, become nauseated, constipated or suffer bouts of reflux, all of which are not conducive to rest.
So aside from various relaxation techniques, the easiest solution for those not in the know of such things is the deep pressure touch (DPT) therapy equivalent provided by weighted blankets. DPT aids in the regulation of the peripheral nervous system, thus helping you relax.
What Are The Benefits of Sleeping With A Weighted Blankets?
Other than promoting sleep, weighted blankets, aka gravity blankets can help with the following:
Better focus and concentration – weighted blankets can also help in focus and concentration for kids and adults when used to cover the lap while at work. Perfect for home office or online workers. According to a study, kids with ADHD had improved focus when provided a weighted blanket.
No Side Effects – another effect is that using a weighted blanket instead of taking sleeping medication lessens the possibility of any side effects. Plus, sleep or calming meds tend to be expensive, depending on the prescription.
Avoiding the effects of sleep deprivation – aside from lack of rest, sleep deprivation can result in highly detrimental conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and even death.
Avoiding Depression – another major side effect of sleep deprivation is depression. Depression can lead to the use and purchase of anti-depressants that stimulate the production of serotonin. Something provided for free when using weighted blankets (after the blanket investment of course). Continuous use of drugs can cause dependency in which the body begins having trouble producing its own serotonin. Being dependent on any drug only adds to one’s feeling of depression.
Avoiding Aggression – because an imbalance to the sympathetic system results in a fight or flight response, victims become subject to irritability and anger, which affects those around him/her. People normally become irritable due to lack of sleep thus becoming a danger to themselves and those around them. Having a good night’s rest with the help of weighted blankets results in a better mood the following day.
Anti-OCD – Believe it or not, weighted blankets can also reduce one’s obsessive-compulsive disorder/s, which is generally rooted in the lack of feelings of stability. Weighted blankets while resting can help ease and comfort the mind giving the effect of additional security. Weighted blankets, after all, were used in mental institutions before going mainstream.
PTSD – speaking of mental disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a more significant concern than OCD. The additional relaxation and comfort given by weighted blankets can decrease the occurrence of nightmares and flashbacks usually associated with past trauma, which results in a victim’s lack of sleep. The soothing, massaging effect of weighted blankets also relieves the stress and anxiety of the victims.
Bipolar Disorder – another severe mental issue that weighted blankets can help with is bipolar disorder. Weighted blankets are not a cure, but they can alleviate some symptoms. The regulation of serotonin levels, the easing of stress and anxiety can help decrease a person’s manic, and depressive episodes.
Sensory Process Disorder – this is when kids and adults become highly-sensitive or become apathetic to stimuli. Oversensitivity is when people become over-sensitive or overwhelmed by certain noises, bodily contact, or even being exposed to crowds. Hyposensitivity, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Kids and adults may not react quickly enough to noise and touch. Since people with hyposensitivity tend to seek out stimuli, weighted blankets that emulate hugs are perfect for them, especially to kids, thus despite their condition could result in pleasant personalities.
Do Weighted Blankets Work For Anxiety?
Anti-Anxiety – Anxiety can lead to stress. Stress can lead to sleeplessness. Sleeplessness can lead to anger, and anger can lead to suffering. Who wants that? So having a tool against anxiety is very important. A study by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) stated that 63 percent of respondents reported that they felt less anxious after using weighted blankets while the rest felt more relaxed as suggested by a drop of electro-dermal activity that produces sweat associated with stress which suggests the reduction of the latter.
Fibromyalgia – lastly, the massaging effect of weighted blankets can help with the symptoms of fibromyalgia, an often misdiagnosed chronic pain disorder. The best way to ease fibromyalgia is by myofascial release; in other words, massaging the areas where the body experiences pain. Again, weighted blankets have that massaging effect that can reduce the symptoms.
What Are The Best Weighted Blankets To Buy?
If you’re interested in weighted blankets, a great place to start shopping is Mosaic Weighted Blankets, https://mosaicweightedblankets.com
Have a good night’s sleep.
Emily is the content director and a contributor with 10 Best Mattresses. Emily was born and raised in Texas. After college she taught English for one year in Japan. Emily is an advocate for getting a good night’s sleep and she is passionate about promoting the benefits of good sleep such as increased alertness, improved mood and increased energy.
There was a time Emily was having trouble getting the type of sleep she had while in her 20’s. This has happened to a lot of us, right? Anyway, after noticing her quality of sleep declining, including a period of insomnia, Emily started researching sleep and sleep topics. In addition to sleeping on a great mattress with great bedding, Emily has a night time routine that works for her. She says it’s a firm mattress, a good book, milk, magnesium and fish oil. Emily sleeps great every night and her smile shows it everyday!